Action on Bronson Avenue Hazards
Transportation Committee of Council approved a staff proposal designed to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety on Bronson Avenue recently. You may recall that the community, Carleton University and the Glebe participated in a study of the operational and safety issues on Bronson that the Transportation Committee launched after the death of a cyclist riding on the street last year. The Councillor fought hard to make sure there were some lasting improvements, especially to change the physical configuration of the crossings/intersections at the on and off ramps between Bronson and the Colonel By Drive near the Canal Bridge. There will be some minor improvements at other intersections such as Sunnyside involving more prominent paint markings and better signage. However, despite these improvements, the underlying problem with Bronson is that it is overbuilt for the traffic volumes it carries outside of rush hour (i.e. about 80% of the time) and so encourages dangerous speeding. This problem has not been addressed. Curing it will require physical changes to the road design and the main pedestrian intersections at Sunnyside and Brewer Way. Sadly, there is no money for that either now, or in the foreseeable future, so we are going to be forced to live with what is still an unsafe thoroughfare for a long time to come.
Update on the Year
As you will know, our Annual General Meeting will be on May 7 at 7:30pm at the Firehall. It is customary for OSCA executive members and committee chairs to present reports to the members present on what has gone on over the year and for the President to present an overview. As a bit of a preview of what I will outline at the AGM, here is a brief summary of my take on the key achievements this year and the challenges ahead:
- OSCA is in good shape financially; revenues are rising faster than expenditures and we are on track this year to generating a healthy surplus which will be re-invested in community programming and infrastructure; in addition our programme registrations are growing and remain healthy;
- We have made an important transition in terms of our staff support, moving from a part-time to a full-time executive director, appointing a new OSCAR editor and making improvements in our governance and operating procedures;
- We have a dynamic and successful newspaper and website that are reporting back to the community on important events, acting as major forums for community members to communicate with one another and providing important information on, and access to, our programming;
- We have hosted a wide range of community special events over the past year with excellent turnout and participation from community members; and finally,
- We have been engaged in a number of initiatives to advance the views of our community on important development issues from zoning to infill housing and traffic and pedestrian safety.
For the year ahead we face a number of important challenges:
- We need to further improve our management of programs and negotiate a partnership agreement with the City that will outline our respective accountabilities and roles in planning, developing and implementing programming at the Firehall and beyond;
- We need to improve our ability to engage volunteers in OSCA’s activities and build a core base of volunteers so that our important community work does not fall on the shoulders of a dedicated few;
- We need to grow our membership base and improve the way we sign up and communicate with OSCA members so that we can demonstrate to City officials, and the wider public, that when we speak on behalf of the community, we do so from a membership base that is large and diverse; and
- We will need to press for zoning changes in the community, to address the challenge of increased intensification of both residential and commercial properties. Capitalizing on the benefits of intensification while reducing the downsides needs to be our objective here, challenging developers to provide the best in urban design.
Your Board has worked hard this year on your behalf, helping to make Old Ottawa South a better place to live for all of us and I would like to take this opportunity, on your behalf, to thank them all. Next year promises to be even better, in no small part due to the investment and hard work that has taken place over the past year.
This is my last column as your President. After over 10 years in the job, and 14 years on the Board, it’s time to pass the baton to another and ensure some fresh perspective and energy in the Association. While at times it has been hard work, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as President and will continue to help out if I am re-elected to the Board. If there was one highlight of my time as President it was seeing Council approve the renovation and expansion of the Firehall after 10 years of teamwork and fundraising on the part of the community. It was wonderful to see all that dedicated work, by so many people, come to such a happy and worthwhile conclusion. All the best and so long.